Alluminati: Prologue

Sifis, the Cretan crocodile, wakes up from his snooze. He did it again, he overate. But how difficult is it not to overeat in this plentiful land of Crete…? “Oh, how difficult…”. This time though, probably for the first time in his satisfying crocodile life, he has morning regrets. It didn’t go well at all. He feels like it didn’t even go down at all. He even has some leftovers, but he pushes them away with his tail and starts a gentle swim away from the prey. Alone with his self-loathing, compensating. The leftovers float unnoticed towards the lake bank.

In the quiet village of Voleones, close to the lake of the Amari Dam that is home to Sifis, the morning sun starts to hit the main square. It is still very early, and most of the inhabitants of the Voleones are still sleeping. As it is often the case, in the very early hours of the day only the eldest, and youngest, are already up and running. This is also the case of Michalakis: he’s wide awake, full of energy and full of ideas to make the most of his school-free day. On Sundays his grandma, or “giagia” as he calls her, folds filo to make pastries with feta and spinach. These are Michalakis’ favourites. He’s only 7 years old but he already helps his giagia with the traditional dough-making, although his specialty is “pastry tasting”. His grandma feeds him a koulouri with merenda – a bread-like ring-shaped pastry with chocolate spread – and tells him to be quiet while she finishes the filo. She always says that filo needs love, but also calm and joy. And no one is allowed to speak loudly in her house while she’s making filo, so she tells Michalakis to go play outside until the effect of the sugar has worn off. Or until she has finished making the pastry, whatever comes first.

Michalakis leaves the house excited and energised, holding a walking stick that is taller than himself, while imagining amazing adventures: he wants to be an “explorer” when he grows up (he obviously knows nothing about employment and bills to pay). He sings songs of battle and of courage, but mainly of treasures and jungles and scary monsters. Walking distractedly following his imagination, his feet lead him towards Sifis’ lake. He stops for a moment, scanning the water for any sign of the large crocodile. But all Michalakis notices is the sound of some excited seagulls overflowing the lake, most likely preying on some of Sifis’ leftover. Michalakis thinks of Sifis and decides to approach the water, yelling “Sifi! Sifi! Pou eisai? Where are you good old Sifi?”. But to his disappointment the enormous beast doesn’t come to his encounter. For the first time. Michalakis doesn’t give up, however, entering the water up to his knees and stirring with his walking stick. Sifis doesn’t swim towards him, as it’s his habit. What does float towards his feet, while he’s busy scanning the horizon, is the horrifying face of a bodiless corpse: Sifis’ last supper.

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